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Federal Standard of Identity for Honey Under Consideration by USDA

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is inviting comments through Sept. 19 on how a federal standard of identity for honey would be in the interest of consumers, the honey industry and U.S. agriculture.

AMS states that in 2006 members of the honey producing, packing and importing industries petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to develop such a standard, which they said would “promote honesty and fair dealing” and “help combat the economic adulteration of honey.” The FDA denied this petition in October 2011, concluding that no standard of identity for honey was necessary. Instead, in the belief that the petitioners’ goals can be achieved through its existing authorities, the FDA recently published a draft guidance on the proper labeling of honey and honey products to help ensure that they are not adulterated or misbranded.

In the meantime, many states have adopted and/or are proposing to adopt state-level standards of identity for honey. AMS notes that while some are following the 2006 honey industry petition and using an amended version of the Codex Standard for Honey, variations in the state standards are inevitable, with the possible end result of an assortment of standards that vary from state to state and impede interstate commerce. AMS is therefore seeking comments on the petitioner’s request for a standard of identity for honey and, specifically, the adoption of deviations as defined in the petitioner’s request and draft proposal.

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